Sweet Smell of Success

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Sweet Smell of Success is a 1957 American film noir made by Hill-Hecht-Lancaster Productions and released by United Artists. It was directed by Alexander Mackendrick and stars Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis, Susan Harrison and Martin Milner. The screenplay was written by Clifford Odets, Ernest Lehman and Alexander Mackendrick from the novelette by Lehman. The film tells the story of a powerful newspaper columnist named J. J. Hunsecker (based on famed New York columnist Walter Winchell) who uses his connections to ruin his sister's relationship with a man he deems inappropriate.

Despite a poorly received preview screening, Sweet Smell of Success earned a positive critical response that improved over the years. In 1993, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". Sweet Smell of Success: The Musical was created by Marvin Hamlisch, Craig Carnelia and John Guare in 2002. The next year, the AFI named J. J. Hunsecker number 35 of the top 50 movie villains of all time.

Contents

Plot

Press agent Sidney Falco (Tony Curtis) has been unable to get his clients mentioned in J. J. Hunsecker's (Burt Lancaster) influential newspaper column because of Falco's failure to make good on his promise to break up the romance between Hunsecker's younger sister Susan (Susan Harrison) and Steve Dallas (Martin Milner), an up-and-coming jazz guitarist.[1] Falco decides to spread false rumors in a rival column that Dallas is a dope-smoking Communist, then to encourage Hunsecker to rescue Dallas's reputation and make Dallas choose between his integrity and owing something to Hunsecker, for whom he has no respect. The plan works, in a way - Dallas insults Hunsecker, and Susan breaks up with Dallas in order to protect him from her brother. Hunsecker, however, deciding to leave nothing to chance (and against Falco's advice), orders Falco to plant reefers on the musician and have him arrested and roughed up by corrupt police officer Harry Kello (Emile Meyer).[1]

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